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Public opinion and awareness of Yorkshire has rocketed after the county’s hosting of the biggest Grand Départ in the history of the Tour de France.

More than 1/3 of the UK’s population had their opinions on Yorkshire positively changed thanks to the Grand Départ, with 1/4 of the country now wanting to visit the county, according to a new ResearchBods study.

It also showed that 3/4 of the county want tourism agency Welcome to Yorkshire – who led the winning bid – to bid for more sporting events to be held within the county.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s official Grand Départ website www.letouryorkshire.com also saw some incredible international traffic during July 5 and 6, further promoting the county to the world.

The website had 2.5 million page views during the weekend which included visitors from 190 countries with exceptionally large traffic from Australia, USA, France, Canada and the Netherlands. Since launch in January 2013, the site has attracted 17.5 million page views.

Twitter played a key role too with a combined reach of @letouryorkshire tweets during the weekend of 23.2 million accounts.

And broadcasters were delighted too – British Eurosport posted a huge 60% rise in average live audience for the Grand Départ compared to 2013.

Event organisers the ASO, riders, teams and media were amazed by the crowds they
witnessed during the Yorkshire Grand Départ. Bernard Hinault, a five time winner of the Tour, said he had never seen crowds as big in over 40 years in the sport while Christian Prudhomme, director of Le Tour, said that he believed there could have been up to 4 or 5 million spectators over the two days.

And bike retailer Halfords also saw a 21% rise in bike sales in the 13 weeks up to June 27.

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: ““The passion, the crowds and the support that Yorkshire demonstrated for the the Tour to the watching world were mind- blowing. The economic benefit to the county is being conservatively estimated to be in excess of £100m, but could well be more after what we all witnessed and these early research results too. Whatever the final figure, it was the images of Yorkshire and its amazing landscapes being beamed around the world which will prove priceless in the months and years ahead for our county.
 
“This is the start of a journey for Yorkshire, not the end of one. The Yorkshire Grand Départ was a game changer and we’re only just scratching the surface of the enormous potential that our county has as we continue on our way towards being a global must-see destination.”

A new international, world-class cycle race is now being planned for the county, dubbed the Tour of Yorkshire – which will see three days of racing delivered by Welcome to Yorkshire, ASO and British Cycling from May 1-3, 2015. An application to the UCI is currently being considered.